Thursday, April 9, 2009

Janet Fagan On Navigating the Waters in a Stormy Economy


We all feel a little uncertain these days. However, let me assure you, the media does tend to blow things out of proportion. Just the other day, I spoke to a client who is in automobile sales (but because he just obtained a Bachelors degree, wants to start a new career in his chosen field). He emphatically told me “I’m successful in sales and selling cars every day…business is great…don’t believe what they tell you in the media”!

However, I do need to emphasize that it is more challenging out there when one is job hunting or looking to make a mid-life transition career change. I’ve heard so many stories…people being called in for several stages of interviews...(screening, one-on-one and group interviews…they run the gamut). I’ve even heard of companies asking for pay stubs during salary negotiations (quite illegal) and recruiters who say that a job seeker must be employed at the time …companies will not even consider someone unless they are already employed! Yes…much of this is true; employers now have their pick, plus their budgets are tight so they are going to really examine the person and their qualifications before hiring.

Despite these challenges, the smart job-seeker can do several things to counter the job search hazing process described above. They must:

Have a positive attitude. This goes without saying. For others to believe in you, you have
to believe in yourself. Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact and generate confidence.
• Make sure your resume is up to date and professionally prepared (a career consultant can help).
• Maintain a strong network…tell everyone you know (even those not in your field of interest)
whether you are looking for a job, or making a career change. (They may know of someone
or a particular related job opportunity; they can be great referrals for you).
• Work on your Personal Brand …your “60 Second Commercial.” What makes you unique?
What special skills, strengths and talents do you bring to the table? Get comfortable talking about yourself with these points in mind, when you let others know you are seeking employment or a new career.
· Do your homework…research…the internet is a fantastic tool. Use it to find information
about careers, job leads, recruiters, education and the like. Tip: Company websites are an
excellent source of information and often have a section on “Employment “.
• Be creative! Next to a positive attitude, this is probably the most important factor.
• Woody Allen, actor, and Buck Blessing, Human Resource Development Guru both have
a favorite quote. It is mine as well: “80% of Success in Life is Showing Up”! Show up in
life every day, and you’ll experience success and satisfaction. It will also mean a lot to others.
• Put together an Action/Marketing Plan for your job search, listing the steps you need to take.
Revisit the plan each week. You may need to alter or adjust as needed. (A Career Consultant
can help you stay accountable and provide best practice tips).
* Keep in mind; although your past experience and skills are important, your potential employer wants to know what you can do for them today

Finally, be brave…take risks! Follow your intuition. It’s competitive out there…now more than ever. Employers want the person who demonstrates that they really want the job. Show them that you do!
Janet Fagan, M.Ed., ACC, JCTC, Career Consulting, Resume Preparation
Janet has a career coaching and consulting practice in Sedona. Visit her website at: or she can be reached at:

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